Vanity not an option for Susan Sarandon in 'Tammy'

Susan Sarandon in

Susan Sarandon in "Tammy."

Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:18 AM ET

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Melissa McCarthy may be Hollywood’s new comedy queen but veteran dramatic actress Susan Sarandon also brings the yuks in their new female buddy-road trip flick, Tammy.

The movie features McCarthy in the titular role, as a stuck-in-a-rut woman whose hard-drinking and randy grandma Pearl, played by Sarandon, decides they should hit the road together to Niagara Falls.

Sarandon, 67, says in no way is Tammy evocative of that other famous female road trip movie she was in - 1991’s Thelma and Louise - given she tweeted a recent picture with co-star Geena Davis and the Internet went nuts.

“We actually didn’t even think about it,” she told reporters. “Until we were doing press (for Tammy) and they brought a car and I said, ‘Now, you know, that that might remind people of that OTHER movie,’ and they were like, ‘Oh, yeah.’ It was so different really.”

McCarthy, who co-wrote the script with her husband and the film’s director Ben Falcone, lobbied the Oscar-winning actress for the role.

“Peer pressure got to me,” Sarandon joked at a press conference. “And I thought, ‘I’ll jump.’ And I was a little worried because I thought there wasn’t much time between the other film I was doing. So I did three in a row - all alcoholic, pill-popping characters - so I was prepared in that sense.”

McCarthy echoed Sarandon’s assessment of Pearl adding: “She has raging problems with alcohol and she sleeps around.”

In the film, vanity wasn’t an option for the still incredibly sexy Sarandon who sports grey hair, loose fitting clothes and cankles (there were actually three different prosthetics), the latter a result of the character’s diabetes.

“She wasn’t actually that much older than I am,” said Sarandon of Pearl. “She just doesn’t have my makeup and hair people… It’s very liberating to look that bad. We just accentuated everything you normally would hide. And so it didn’t matter if I was sweaty, if the lighting was bad. That was kind of cool in hindsight. We’ll see it if works. At the time, I was like, ‘Let’s go for it.’ It was my cankles that posed a problem because we had three sets and they had to come on and off at different times according to where we were in the story.”

Pearl ends up with a fellow drunk named Earl (Gary Cole) in the backseat of her car after a roadhouse encounter, which was the first scene the two actors shot after meeting each other three days earlier.

Sarandon says it was only when she looked in a mirror post-shooting that she realized what a good actor Cole was.

“Here he comes - so handsome, so sexy -  and then I go home and I see what I look like in my trailer!” she said. “I completely believed that he would be attracted which I guess makes it even funnier. But, at the end of the day, I was like, ‘Oh, my God. This guy is really good because he had me convinced that this could actually be happening in a way that wasn’t so icky.’”

Sarandon also said the level of improv on the set while making Tammy - McCarthy and Falcone met as members of L.A.’s theatre/comedy improv troupe The Groundlings - allowed her to freely make mistakes. “And that’s really, really liberating and fun to be able to just go with it and suggest stupid things and one out of ten maybe is a a good idea… For me it was just a really wonderful experiment of working in a way that I hadn’t worked on film certainly in a long time.

“And if this movie’s not a success, I’ll never do it again,” she deadpanned.

Twitter: @JaneCStevenson

jane.stevenson@sunmedia.ca


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